The Grand Sophy (by Georgette Heyer)

It was with some surprise that I realised I had not read a single Georgette Heyer book in 2014. So, perhaps foolishly, I decided to remedy this a couple of days before the end of the year. I have just finished it, with a few hours to go!

I last read ‘The Grand Sophy’ in 2006, and enjoyed it very much. I remembered the outline of the story and some of the characters, as it’s a book I’ve read several times over the years. But it’s one that never fails to amuse me. Sophy is one of the best of Heyer’s strong historical heroines, a girl raised in an unconventional way by her military father, who comes to live for a while with her highly conventional cousins.

Sophy quickly learns that her cousin Cecilia is in love with an unsuitable poet, her cousin Charles is engaged to a tediously dull woman, and her cousin Hubert is in some difficulties which he will not reveal. Moreover, Charles has far too much influence over the family finances, and they all seem afraid of him.

Sophy sets to work to sort out everybody’s affairs, in a way that could be seen as pushy and manipulative, but she’s a very likeable young woman and has everybody’s best interests at heart. It’s ridiculous stuff, of course; set in Regency England amidst high fashion and shocking politics. Sophy is a very modern girl who flouts conventions when it seems reasonable to do so, while not at all wishing to upset anyone she cares about.

The ending is one of Heyer’s classic gatherings of the clans at an unlikely location with everything neatly sorted out… and despite reading as fast as I could I enjoyed it very much indeed.

Highly recommended. First published in 1950, this is regularly re-printed and available on both sides of the Atlantic.

Review copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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